You have the Nearly Insane Quilt book, but do not know where to start?
My Nearly Insane Quilt block patterns are based on Salinda Rupp’s 1860s quilt and Liz Lois’s book with the drafts of the blocks. This is not a replacement of the book; I give you the patterns if you wish to take the journey using the foundation paper-piecing technique. I would highly recommend you buy the book for a great introduction to the quilt and to refer to the quilt layout, block settings, borders and some fabric estimates.
The Vital Stats of the Quilt
Size: 83″ x 83″ (including 3″ pieced border)
Description: 98 pieced blocks of 6″ square placed on point with sashing, cornerstones and pieced border.
Level: Intermediate to Expert
Familiarity with Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) is essential.
Fabric: It is difficult to give any estimate of the fabric yardage. To start with, 35-40 fat quarters in the colours of your choice for the blocks? Liz Lois has given an estimate of the sashing/ corner-stones and borders fabric in her book. Just remember that you need almost twice if not more of the fabric you would require for a similar sized quilt, as the pieces are so small and consequently so many more seams. Small prints, Civil War fabrics and 1930s tiny florals would look good with some solids to set them off.
There are several quilters who have made it in just two colours–red with white and blue with white being a popular choice. Others have gone with scraps. My FPP patterns were designed for a quilt in blues, yellows and greens.
However, my patterns come with colour numbering to enable you to construct the blocks in your own choice of colours.
Why Foundation Paper Piecing Patterns?
No tracing required, nor any measurements! All is done for you! The numbered templates provided with each block pattern make it possible for one to piece the blocks by machine, without the bother of accurately measuring and cutting each piece.
(Nevertheless, there are 3 blocks with y-seams that can be only partially foundation-pieced and have to be put together by hand or regular machine-piecing. English paper piecing templates are provided for these blocks.)
The Background of the Quilt
The `Nearly Insane’ Quilt is what Salinda Rupp’s quilt from the 1860s from Pennysylvania is better known as! Made in bright autumn colours, it has enchanted and inspired many quilters to embark on a journey as satisfying as it is maddening.
I discovered this quilt in a quilt history book and fell in love with it immediately, preparing for it and honing my quilting skills before i could attempt it. I later discovered Liz Lois had named it the Nearly Insane quilt and published a book with the designs for the blocks (but no templates) and their placement. The book kept lying with me for quite some time, before I realised I could draft FPP patterns to make everything so much simpler and I spent the next several months drafting and redrafting the patterns!
What makes this quilt special?
The quilt has an undescribable rustic charm; not for Salinda your perfect points or absolutely symmetrical patterns! I think she often made up block patterns as she went along, depending on whatever scraps were at hand!
There are 98 blocks to construct, each 6 inches square, placed on point. 12 of these are cut diagonally and fitted into the edge of the on-point quilt, while one is cut into 4 to make up the corners. (This includes a basket halves placed on opposite edges of the quilt) The craziest block has 229 pieces and the easiest has 10; the average number of pieces per block is between 35-40! We quilters are used to HSTs (Half-Square Triangles) but this quilt has Half-Rectangle Triangles, not to forget flying geese which are not flying geese of the 1:2 ratio at all! Salinda used up all the scraps she had at hand, coming up with blocks which are whimsical and charming! The sashing and cornerstones give the eyes a rest between the busy piecing of the blocks and the icing on the cake is the unique ‘ zig-zag’ or `lightning’ border which sets off the quilt to perfection.
Here are a few of my favourite blocks from my quilt!
So if you are planning to devote the next few months or years of your life to creating a true heirloom, nothing better than Salinda Rupp’s quilt to start with. And if you decide to go the FPP way, well…